The Crusader Newspaper Group

Gary Common Council Approves 2022 Budget with Emphasis on Public Safety

On October 25, 2021, the Gary Common Council voted 8-1 to give a 12 percent raise to Police Officers & Fire Fighters. The Council’s vote amended Mayor Prince’s proposed budget for 2022.

Council President William Godwin stated, “I’m thrilled that the majority of the council is committed to paying our public safety professionals respectable, competitive salaries.

Recruiting and retaining police and firefighters amid efforts by neighboring cities to poach them with offers of higher pay is a big challenge for us. We know that public safety is essential to keeping our residents safe, attracting homeowners and businesses, and improving the morale of our hardworking police and fire professionals.”

The council’s proposed starting salary for all patrolmen and firefighters increased from the proposed salary of $50,783 to $55,000. Proportionate increases were made for each of the higher ranks in both departments. Additionally, the council recognized that animal control officers have been underpaid as members of the police department. With a vote of 8-1, the Council voted to increase these officers salary from $27,500 to $35,000.

Council Vice President Tai Adkins, who led our budget efforts with Councilwoman Mary Brown, has held the line on ensuring that all full time city employees are paid at least $30,000. The Council approved Mayor Prince’s proposed 3% pay increase for all city employees, pushing us closer to a living wage.

The council is optimistic that with increased Casino Revenues, a $28 million windfall from The Covid Relief Funds, budgeted headcount reductions, and efficiency cuts in our operation budget, the city will be able to sustain these raises. The council voted 6-3 to make nearly $1M in reductions to the General Fund to move toward right sizing our operations and clearly defining our budgetary priorities.

Public safety is a priority for the Gary Common Council. The Council’s bold decisions are now in the hands of Gary Mayor Jerome Prince.

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